Lent Post #27: Got Mess? Why Not Do Something With It?! #payitforward

Life is damn messy, right? We’ve all got “stuff,” and some of it is more life-defining than others. Last year, Robin Roberts was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, only a few years after fighting another type cancer for the first time. After announcing her diagnosis to the world on Good Morning America, she said that her goal was to “make her mess her message,” claiming that this was a phrase her mother used quite a bit growing up; further it was something that got her through her first round of cancer, and would definitely get her through this next one. 

I absolutely LOVE this message, especially coming from someone who is dealing with a mess. Often, cliches and phraseology comes from those who are not knee-deep in mess themselves, and presumes a knowledge of exactly what type, size, weight, and how many nails are in your personal cross. One of the most powerful things I gained from my summer CPE experience was a piece of advice given to me by my supervisor. He said, “its not that you share your story, its how you share your story. Its the words that matter.” A man who has had plenty of mess, “stuff” and tragedy in his own life, this advice was respected, and I took it with me throughout the summer, trying to figure out exactly how to turn my mess into my message. 

Mess is self-defined, and personal. Mess can be anything. For Robin Roberts, it was cancer. For me, it has been my own health stuff and my road to figuring out my call, being a young woman in ministry, my issues with self-confidence and growing into self-maturity. But for others, it will be completely different; perhaps it takes being on the other side of the mess to transform the mess into the message. But it takes perspective and distance, it takes removing the anger and resentment. It takes removing the frustration, resentment and anger that this mess has taken away certain opportunities, things aspects of life, closed doors, things wanted but not gotten. 

Your mess does not become your message when you abuse your voice or your message. Your mess does not become your message when you abuse or disqualify the mess of others, or demolish the paths others have paved before you so that you could get to the place you are right at this moment. Your mess does not become your message when you make excuses for why you can’t when you absolutely can. Your mess does not become your message when you manipulate, lie, steal, cheat and abuse. Your mess does not become your message when you whine, complain, bitch, or demean others for the purpose of bettering yourself and your message. This is not your message, just your mess, and definitely NOT ministry to anyone. 

But your mess becomes your message when you live out each and every aspect of your mess to the point of glorifying your mess into a lived out message. Your mess becomes your message when you are nothing BUT authentic to yourself and others. Your mess becomes your message when you live your life to the fullest, each and every moment. Your mess becomes your message when you do things not solely for yourself, but for others, and not for a paycheck, but out of the goodness of your heart, because deep down, you sense that the need is there. Your mess becomes your message when you sense that others’ mess is similar to yours and you find them amidst a crowd of people so that they don’t feel utterly and completely alone. 

Going through anything sucks, but messes are a unique opportunity to do more, be better, and GO SOMEWHERE. It doesn’t have to be a physical somewhere, but these icky, no good, parts of the life story have the potential to transform not only our stories, but the stories of those who are stuck, paralyzed, or feel completely voiceless as a result of their own messes. That is, however, if you use your mess for good, not for evil. 

Let your mess be your message; empower others who might feel voiceless. Remember how you might have felt in the midst of your mess, when everything might have been dirty, mucky, murky, foggy, and nothing had direction, nothing to grasp onto. Did someone make their mess into a message that reached you? Do the same for your mess, and you never know, your mess(age) may reach someone in a way you’d never possibly imagine. 

But remember. You are not your mess. Your mess does not make you up. Your mess does not force air into your lungs, does not cause your heart to beat, nor does it cause you to rise in the morning or to go to bed at night. Your mess does not have that much power over you. But the message you choose to tell about it does. Plain and simple. If you allow your mess to take control over your life – allowing it to fill your Facebook wall, your twitter feed, your text messages, then you are nothing more than the sum total of your mess, struggling to maintain a persona and identity. So break free, have a message independent from your mess, that is yours and yours alone. That isn’t, “oh, I’m a ____ patient,” or “I’m a recovering ______.” As true or untrue as that may be, that’s not the real story, and certainly not your message. At least not the one the world is starving to hear. Discern, prayerfully, the words this world are craving to chew on mindfully. Be the wedge in this world, the one who breaks open a problem and creates a solution. Not because you made the claim that you were “a ____ patient,” or “_____ student” or “_______ pastor without a call” or “oppressed.”

Be more than a collection of words preached out of hatred, immaturity and irrationality. Embody the true meaning of those words, not the emotion those words evoke. Because the meaning and passion of the words will speak louder than the words themselves in a world choked to death by meaningless words. 

 

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One thought on “Lent Post #27: Got Mess? Why Not Do Something With It?! #payitforward”

  1. This was a great read. Thank you for sharing it around! Nowadays the world wide web is full of poor content there is however no doubt that you simply spent long by editing the information. Again, thank you for your time as well as for your efforts!

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